Third D3gree auditioned for the X-Factor Australia as three individual artists: Jordan Rodrigues, Vanessa ‘Kelebek’ Skrypczak, and Jacinta Gulisano. They were placed together as a group during Boot Camp, and since then have performed as a totally awesome RnB/Pop style band.
I spoke to Third D3gree last week about what life was like during the X-Factor, what’s it like now the competition is over, and what’s happening next for the group.
Frangipani Princess: You all auditioned for the X-Factor separately, so how did you feel about being put in a band? Is it something you’d ever thought about?
Jacinta – We never thought we’d be in a group. Obviously if we wanted to be a part of a group, we would have entered the show in a group at first. So you know, all we were thinking about was being solo. But once we got put together, our initial thoughts were we didn’t think it was going to work, two girls and a guy, we’d never really seen that before so we thought it was a little bit weird, and we were all complete strangers to each other, so we were like “how are we going to bond with these two people that we don’t know?” But then we kind of saw that we all had the same interests and likes, and we liked the same genre in music, and it was a great choice by the judges.
What did you guys do to bond? How did you guys get to know each other before you had to perform as a group?
Jordan – I think we really started bonding at home visits where we went to Noosa, or Queensland, and we spent that full week together and I think spending pretty much every minute of the day with each other we just kind of learnt about each other, we learnt what our pet hates are, what we like, what we don’t like, and we kind of just had to get closer and closer through that experience, just being around each other all of the time. We did go out for a few dinners, we chilled a lot, things like that.
What made you all audition for the X-Factor?
Jacinta – I think it was mainly just our families. They told us to give it a go, and it was also that X-Factor is one of the best talent shows out there, so why not? Why not give it a go? It’s launched so many great careers for people, everyone you hear on the radio has pretty much been on the X-Factor, or been on a show like that, so that’s why we thought we’d all give it a go.
Who is your favourite artist who has come out of X-Factor? Either here, or internationally?
Kelebek – Definitely James Arthur, he’s an amazing artist and his voice is just so unique. He’s from the UK X-Factor. We performed one of his songs on the Australian X-Factor this year, which was “Impossible”, and it was just amazing having him also on the show. He’s a big inspiration.
Jordan – Guy Sebastian, I mean, he didn’t come off X-Factor but he came off Australian Idol which is still a similar show. We really like Guy, we’ve met him. I think he’s a real inspiration. He’s gone through a lot, he’s done the rounds, he’s worked in the industry for so long. He’s really successful now, and I think we kind of want to go in that direction. And like I think Jacinta was just about to say, One Direction. They were in the exact same boat as us, they got thrown together as group and I think we can learn a lot from them, and hopefully one day we are just as successful as them.
What was your favourite song you guys performed on the X-Factor?
Jacinta – We really loved doing Rock Week, which was “By The Way” by Red Hot Chilli Peppers. It was just because it was so unexpected. We didn’t expect it to go so well, because we were like “oh, we’re definitely not rock, how is this going to happen?!” and then it ended up being one of our favourites. I think it was also because we had a live band and the vibe was just so awesome. So that was definitely one of our highlights.
What was the most challenging part of the X-Factor experience?
Jacinta – For us, it was definitely being a group. Putting together a performance that was going to go to over two million people in less than three days. That was the hardest thing. And us being a group, it wasn’t just singing we had to concentrate on, it was our harmonies, our moves, our choreography, it was everything. And for a group that’s only been together five months realistically when you look at it, it was really hard. But it was fun, and it was a huge learning curve at the same time.
How has your life changed since appearing on the X-Factor?
Kelebek – It’s changed because we’ve got so much exposure from being on the show. So now a lot of people know who we are when we go out and stuff. It’s so weird when people come up and know who we are because we don’t realise people how many people have watched the show. Also the fact that we went in as solo artists and now we’re a group, it is a change from being in a solo mindset to being in a group. But it’s been such an amazing experience to be in Third D3gree, and just being able to tour and do all of those things. And now we’re doing writing at the moment and it’s really exciting, and another learning curve. So we just keep growing as artists.
You’re writing at the moment, have any of you done song writing before?
Kelebek – Yeah, we have had a little bit of song writing experience from growing up, me and Jordan, and Jacinta as well. We’re just kind of putting all of our stuff together
Jacinta – It’s going to be different, writing for a group now. You’re writing for a male singer, a female singer, and a rapper, it’s a hard task. But it’s something we’re really excited to start doing.
Are you currently just writing by yourselves, or are you writing with other people as well?
Jacinta – We’re working with other people, yeah. It’s so exciting, the fact that we get to work with some amazing names and professionals who have written for some great artists.
What was it like going on the X-Factor tour?
Kelebek – It was amazing. Meeting all of the people who have supported us, and being able to experience such a massive crowd. It was crazy, the amount of people who turned up for this tour. It was really exciting.
How have your friends and family reacted to your new fame?
Kelebek – My mother and father are a little bit sad because they don’t have their little girl turning up back at home anymore
Jacinta – Same
Kelebek – Yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s the same for Jacinta and Jordan, he’s a little mummy’s boy.
Jacinta – I think because all three of us are so young, our parents aren’t used to just having us leave. They’re like “all our babies are all grown up now, they don’t need us anymore!” We do need them, but that’s just what they’re thinking, so we need to assure them every day.
Kelebek – We call them every day and every night.
What’s been the coolest thing that’s happened because of being on the X-Factor?
Jordan – We went out for lunch with Nat, Natalie Bassingthwaite, and just walking alongside our table outside was Russell Crowe. And we were like “Whaaaaat?!” And he approached us, he came up to us and was like “oh my god, I loved you guys on the show!” and I was like “what the hell!!” We were so excited, it was like “you know us?! We know you!” It was incredible. That was definitely our highlight of the whole X-Factor experience. Well, not the X-Factor experience, but just being around. It was so weird, but it was cool. I was so starstruck.
Who are your musical inspirations?
Jordan – Michael Jackson is my musical inspiration. I grew up listening to Michael Jackson, so he’s definitely it for me.
Jacinta – I would say Beyonce. I love Beyonce, I’ve loved her for a long time. She’s a triple threat, she can do everything. I love her.
Kelebek – Mine’s definitely those two, but also The Black Eyed Peas.
Jacinta – Yeah, for us as a group it’s definitely The Black Eyed Peas. They’re a mixed group, and we love their sound, we love Will.I.Am and the stuff he does, and the collaborations he does.
Kelebek – And also the fact that they started off separately to Fergie, and then they all came together. It was pretty cool.
Do you see yourselves, in the future, ever wanting to have a solo career? Or do you like being in a group now that you’ve experienced it?
Kelebek – We love being in a group. We really want Third D3gree to succeed, so we’re working our butts off, as hard as we can, to get where we need to be.
Jacinta – Yeah. And it’s fun being in a group. It’s boring solo!
So you’ve just released your first single, “Different Kind Of Love”, what’s next? What can expect from Third D3gree?
Jacinta – You can expect some new singles coming. We’re not keen on an album just yet. We really like putting out a single at a time, I think that’s how people are kind of doing it these days, making hit singles rather than putting out an album with album tracks. We’re just trying to write some killer singles.
Can we expect some videos soon?
Jacinta – I mean, we’d love to do a video, but we haven’t heard anything about it yet. We’re hoping you guys will see one soon, but yeah, we’re not sure.
Is the music you’re working on now of a similar sound to “Different Kind Of Love”? Or can we expect new sounds?
Jordan – I think right now, coming up to summer, we really want a summer track. And I think Different Kind Of Love could be a cool summer track, and for now we’re going to stick to that dancey vibe, that kind of house track. We want people to dance the night away. Later on down the track, we definitely have heaps of ideas for new sounds, and bringing back the old school, maybe modernise it a bit. We have three different flavours and we want to use it all.
How would you each individually describe your style?
Jacinta – I think all three of us, and this is why Third D3gree works out so well, had the same kind of style and idea of what to do, and that would be RnB/Pop.
Jordan – Yeah, RnB/Pop, housey, all of that kind of mainstream, but we love the old school stuff too, that’s how we’ve been brought up with all that kind of old school stuff. 90s RnB, we love that. We all just get along so well in that sense.
Kelebek, you’re from Albury and so am I, do you see yourself as a bit of an inspiration for country kids with big dreams? Like showing that you can get out there and make it?
Kelebek – Like I always say to my supporters, just be you, don’t try and be someone else. Even though I was in a county place and everyone else was doing acoustic in the little pubs, and I was the one just rapping away, it was awkward sometimes, being in those situations where you’re just an awkward stand out. But at those times I never gave up, and that’s why I’m where I am now. So never give up on your dreams, no matter where you’re from, even if you don’t fit in in the place. Just realise that one day you will be put in the right place.
So where would you like to see yourselves in five years time?
Jacinta – We’d like to see ourselves hopefully established here, but also overseas
Jordan – Definitely overseas
Jacinta – We’ve got some really dedicated fans from overseas, which we’re really shocked about. But so grateful for. We’re hoping to be overseas at some point. Having some really established songs, and just people knowing who we are on a wider scale.
You just mentioned fans, have you had any crazy fan experiences yet?
All – YES
Kelebek – We have this one particular fan, and during the live shows she actually cried when she saw us. It was really sweet, and we gave her a massive cuddle.
Jacinta – We wouldn’t call any of our fans crazy, just really dedicated. We’re so lucky to have them.
Do you have any advice for any young aspiring singers who are maybe thinking about going on the X-Factor, or trying to make it big in their own way?
Jacinta – Just give it a go
Jordan – Just go for it. I never thought I’d make it anywhere near here, I’d just started singing. I was like “what the hell am I doing here?! Auditioning for a singing competition, I’m so stupid.” Next minute, top four! Just go do it, don’t be shy, don’t be scared. If you get pushed back, just keep going on and on, until something does happen. It will happen if you try hard and work on your skill. If you keep practicing, and keep taking classes, things like that, you’ll keep getting better at what you do. You’ve just got to keep going for it, and that’s all you can do.
Third D3gree’s debut single “Different Kind Of Love” is available now through Sony Music. You can follow them on twitter @_thirdd3gree.
frangipani princess xoxo